Glen Smith
Australia
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A man...

A balding, elderly, pathetic man...

A brave man...

An honourable man...

Upon the bridge of the starship USS Yeager, sat Admiral J.P. Hanson. One might have said he looked out of place, surrounded by young officers and commanding a small, sleek and brand new combat vessel. But it was clear, it seemed, that the Admiral wasn't going to let that stop him. Indeed, even now, the last few finishing touches on the new starbase were being put into place, the combined efforts of the Yeager, Yorktown (a real honour to have that ship flying with them, Hanson felt, seeing as it once bore the name Enterprise) and Excelsior allowing them to complete this unique nebula base in record time. With its completion, the sector was theirs... Now if only they could drive the Klingons away...

A fool...

A great, venerable fool...

The fool who underestimated the the brave man...

Upon the bridge of the IKS T'Ong, sat Chancellor K'Mpec of the Klingon High Command. He was a Klingon in his element, sitting amongst great warriors and many trophies of past victories... including the dedication plaque of a starship apparently named USS Yeager, which even now K'Mpec held within his hands, almost glaring at it with barely restrained contempt...

This vessel should not have been... Not the Yeager, but the T'Ong. Ever since that dimensional rift had opened, and an unfamiliar Klingon vessel claiming to be the late IKS Kronos One had come through, K'Mpec had known what he must do. In short order, his ship had departed from its berth in the form of the recently captured "Spacedock" in high orbit of Earth, and made its way into this twisted, despicable reality where somehow, the Federation had not yet fallen...

Though they did not yet possess a starbase of their own in this region, K'Mpec knew that they had sufficient control over the region, and was confident that the conditions given by the honourable alien race encountered on a non-descript class-L planet for joining the Empire would soon be met. All they must do is outnumber and defeat a Federation vessel. The task was almost too easy...


Admiral Hanson would not wait...

The starbase was relatively safe territory, but victory was so very near at hand... Soon enough, the science vessel's transmission had been received, confirming it had arrived on the other side of the wormhole and could confirm that the other end of what had been discovered nearby to the Federation command base was indeed very near to the Klingon command base. There was, however, a single Klingon ship guarding the wormhole, and the Klingon flagship was also nearby...

Hanson reacted swiftly. Though the Yorktown sadly could not follow, the Excelsior and Yeager were immediately kicked into high warp, bearing down on the L-class planet where a Klingon scout ship awaited them. Though the Yeager's crew near was near exhausted after already working so hard to complete the starbase project, a speech delivered by Hanson, taken word-for-word from one of Jim Kirk's old diatribes, roused the weary men to action, and the Yeager struck... Yet, for all the Yeager's valour, the IKS Somraw's shields held...


Upon receiving the Somraw's transmission, K'Mpec could do naught but bellow the loudest and longest of laughs. What a fool was Hanson! Perhaps more fool even than the J.P. Hanson of K'Mpec's own reality! With not a care given for the Miranda class science vessel that had just emerged from the wormhole, K'Mpec gave the order for the IKS Rotarran to proceed through it itself and proceed to a Federation world to begin conquest. The T'Ong and Gr'oth, meanwhile, made their way to the L-Class planet...

Hanson was stunned. How had their attack upon a scout ship failed!? The Yeager was supposed to be a warship, wasn't she!? And yet here they were, starring down three fully armed Klingon vessels... And the worst part was... they weren't targeting the Yeager...

The Excelsior... The Excelsior was gone...

"Survivors?"

"None... sir..."

It was just Yeager now... Just the Klingon command ships, their consorts... and the Yeager...

A single, wrinkled hand gripped tightly around the armrest of the captain's chair. Hanson starred down the Klingon vessels as they bared down upon his ship. And then, came the words the Klingons never heard... and yet would never forget...

"Target the command ship... and stand by to eject the warp core!"

Just then, the Yorktown finally arrived, her weapons and those of the Yeager battering uselessly against the shields of the IKS T'Ong. Hanson knew it was too late to warn the Yorktown now... for the Yeager was committed...


Bwaha ha ha ha ha! How was it that Hanson could be younger than K'Mpec and yet K'Mpec felt as young as a newly minted warrior while Hanson seemed as old and frail as it was possible to be? The T'Ong was barely even shaking as supposedly mighty volleys of phasers and photon torpedoes lashed against her!

"Chancellor K'Mpec, something has been ejected from the Yeager... It is... it is the vessel's warp core!"

There was no time to react. The helmsmen of neither the Yorktown 'nor any of the three Klingon vessels present so much as had time to reach for their controls before the entire area was bathed in spectacular white light. If the T'Ong had not been shaking before, it certainly was now. There were shouts as Klingons were thrown helplessly about, strewn like ragdolls as the T'Ong's shields buckled under the power of the explosion...

Soon enough though, all was still. Warning lights blinked, and smoke poured from the cieling, but the T'Ong had survived the blast.

'But of course we did!' the first officer thought haughtily, hauling himself to his feet. "Chancellor, we..."

And then... he saw it... saw the Chancellor impaled through the chest by an iron rebar... Even those who were not medics cool tell the greatest of all Klingons was dead.

"Chancellor..."

This, of course, left the first officer in command. Slowly, he turned his attention to the slightly flickering view screen, where even now the equally stricken Yorktown and Yeager floated. Reports were soon heard from the Gr'oth and Somraw. Like the T'Ong, both were damaged, but could draw clear and present lines upon both Federation ships. The ships, particularly the Yeager with the loss of her warp core, would be all too easy now to finish...


"Wait... Hail that vessel..."

"Computer, prepare to initiate self-destruct sequence! Authorisation Hanson..."

"Admiral... sir! The Klingon command ship is hailing us!"


"What...!? On screen!"

A Klingon appeared. For the longest time, he starred. In response, Admiral Hanson starred. The two men starred at one another for the longest time... And then, the Klingon stood aside, revealing the dead form of a Klingon who had been dead for years...

"Our Chancellor has fallen..." the Klingon announced. "Fallen, as he wished... as all Klingons wish... in glorious battle... You are Admiral Hanson?"

"I am... But I don't understand... That man behind you is K'Mpec! Chancellor K'Mpec died years ago!"

"Our vessel hails from a reality different than your own, Admiral Hanson," the Klingon explained. "In that reality, you were the one dead... your vessel destroyed by ours as our forces swept aside the defences of Earth. The Federation was weak... a hapless foe... its vessels pitiable and its commanders cowards... Our Chancellor had thought the same of the Federation of this reality, and sought to aid an obviously weak and pitiable Klingon Empire to overcome whatever shortcomings had prevented it from defeating you. But you are no pitiable coward, Admiral Hanson... What you have done here today... your willingness to defeat your foes even if it would mean sacrificing yourself... is proof. I understand now why the Federation of this reality stands strong, where in our reality it fell. Your vessel has been crippled by what you have done, and there is no honour in destroying a helpless opponent, particularly not one such as yourself. You are a brave, honourable man, Admiral Hanson, and our Chancellor underestimated you. For that, he has paid the price, as have we. We concede victory this day, and hope only to one day meet you again... in honourable combat... Q'apla!"

The transmission cut out...

"Sir! The Klingon ships are turning about... they're moving off!"

"Admiral... report coming in from the survey ship! The Klingon Bird of Prey that entered the wormhole is coming back through and is moving out of the sector as well... They report they are beginning to take the Klingon rear line apart even now... We've done it, sir! We've done it! We've won...!"


It was quite some time before Admiral Hanson spoke again. When a man made his peace and was fully ready to die, it was somewhat difficult to come back from that mindset, especially when you were someone who had already lived a full life... That, coupled with the confusing nature of what the Klingon on the enemy flagship had just told him left Hanson momentarily confused as to just what to do next. Eventually, though, he settled on the obvious...

"Ensign, order the Yorktown to take us under tow," he said simply. "Set a course back for the new starbase. We're going home..."



---------------------

Phew! No one was more surprised with how this game turned out than me, I can assure you!

Hokay, so I knew my mum was going to be no great shakes at this game. Indeed, I pretty much had to walk her through everything and she still didn't really get it even then. Mostly, it was the power adjustment stuff that did her head in. She just couldn't grasp all the myriad numbers, and for the most part could only make qualitative decisions like putting Captain Kirk on the Enterprise (referred to as Yorktown in the story for the sake of preserving some sembelance of continuity).

Ultimately, however, whilst play proceeded slowly, it also proceeded smoothly. The Feds got a couple of decent encounters, and it was a bad run-in with a Particle Fountain that prompted mum (at my suggestion) to build an outpost in the Class 1 Nebula location to make repairs to the ship damaged by it. This, coupled with a nicely played Command Authority (though I pretty much had to walk her through how to use the card) plus a Level 1 Diagnostic (which she actually managed to play with no prompting from me) on the Excelsior gave her the 8 location control mission and a couple of high-level science missions for a solid 8 VPs.

I, meanwhile, playing as the Klingons, had gotten less lucky. The T'Ong (which, as you might have gotten from the story, was originally the Kronos One but had been swapped out due to Alternate Reality) had actually been forced to double-back to pull the Rotarran's nuts out of the fire when it landed on Alien Takeover on a location it was "back exploring" near my command post, and my missions weren't missions that I could complete all that easily. I knew I could get them done eventually, but it was slow going, especially as I wanted to keep secret missions on the board because of K'Mpec. Still, I did manage to scrape together enough stuff that I wound up with 7 VPs. This was coupled with a fortuitous Conditional Friendship that drew me a Co-ordinated Attack mission right as my mum was sending her own ships into the location where I drew the Conditional Friendship to try and complete her own combat missions put me in a position where I thought I was sure to win. So, I sent the Gr'oth, T'Ong and Somraw to attack the Excelsior while the Roarran moved through the wormhole (there was a wormhole right outside mum's command post, and the other end was nearish to mine) to go and do a Gather Intelligence mission behind Federation lines as a backup plan.

Sure enough, the three ships were able to destroy the Excelsior, which completed the Coordinated Attack and netted me an extra VP for the kill, putting me on 9. Thanks to K'Mpec's combat effect, I was confident the T'Ong wasn't going to take any damage (mum had the Display Dominance Mission out), and the though the Reliant was in a position to complete Remove Influence (or whatever its called), that would only put mum onto 9 VPs, not enough for the win.

But I didn't count on Eject the Warp Core...

Y'see, I wasn't looking at my mum's command cards, but rather was simply responding when she asked if she could use a card that said X to do Y, and so some of her cards were unknown to me, especially because of a Time Dilation encounter that had come up. So when she played Eject the Warp Core, I was taken completely by surprise, and I realised I had, though my actions on my last turn, just handed my mum the game... Of course, the game was probably hers anyway, because she could easily have warp-cored the T'Ong even if I'd attacked the Reliant instead.

So overall that was actually a pretty damned amazing turn of events, I must say, strangely one of the more amazing things I've ever seen happen in a board game in-spite of and indeed partly BECAUSE I lost a close game... FAIRLY... to someone who had no real idea what she was doing beyond, apparently, choosing to keep the command cards that would best help her blow up my ships...

So yeah. That was certainly one for the scrapbook. ^^
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